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Post-‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Gender Equity, New Voter Registration Laws Among Diversity Topics Explored at _ Meeting in Chicago

CHICAGO, July 19, 2012—The impact on the military one year following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” gender equity and new voter registration laws are chief among legal issues related to diversity that will be explored at the 2012 _ Annual Meeting, Aug. 2 – 7, in Chicago.

With more than 1,400 dynamic presentations and events featuring high-profile law experts, the ABA Annual Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals. Among notable speakers are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (“Arias of Law: The Rule of Law at Work in the Performance Arts” and “Comparative Constitutional Law: North America and Middle East,” Aug. 3); Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, co-chairs of the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System (“Saving Our Underfunded Courts: Is Anybody Listening?” Aug. 4); and Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., president, Rainbow PUSH Coalition (“The New Voter Registration Laws: Fighting Voter Fraud or Suppressing the Vote,” Aug. 5).

The 560-member House of Delegates will meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 6 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 7 in the Hyatt Regency Chicago East Tower (Gold Level, Grand Ballroom) to consider policy recommendations and vote on resolutions. During the two-day session, Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center, will receive the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor.

Among resolutions related to diversity, the House will consider measure 116, which would amend the 2008 ABA policy regarding racial and ethnic profiling to include religious profiling and characteristics indicative of religious affiliation.

Diversity programs include:

Thursday, Aug. 2

“Beyond Diversity: How Stereotype Threat and Implicit Bias Contribute to the Status Gap” – A panel will discuss the implicit, or unconscious, bias and stereotype threat that can limit career opportunities for underrepresented groups. Speakers will present approaches to understanding diversity that can help drive real change to solve the problem.

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Hyatt West Tower, Gold Level, Regency Ballroom C

“Forum on Native American Issues I” – A panel will review strategies to address issues affecting Native American communities and provide an update on measures taken to address legal problems. Topics will include Internal Revenue Service audits of tribal government programs, pending Indian issues in Congress, and special issues facing Indian tribes in Oklahoma.

3 – 4:30 p.m., Hyatt West Tower, Bronze Level, Comiskey

“An American Dream for Some? How Federal and State Policies are Impacting Undocumented Students’ Access to Higher Education” – With the Dream Act facing an uncertain future, undocumented students face an uphill battle in gaining access to higher education. The panel will provide participants with an overview of this issue as well as engage participants in a conversation about the road ahead.

4:45 – 6:15 p.m., Hyatt West Tower, Bronze Level, Comiskey

Friday, Aug. 3

“The Right Idea: A Critical Look Inside the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Its Effectiveness and Challenges” – A panel will explore the effectiveness and future of the IDEA—including enforcement, eligibility determinations, discipline regulations and various procedural safeguards—and the role lawyers play in effectuating this statute.

8:30 – 10 a.m., Hyatt West Tower, Gold Level, Regency Ballroom D

“Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Fortune 500 Legal Departments” – Prominent female corporate counsel will discuss strategies on how women, particularly women of color, can overcome the barriers they face in the upper ranks of the profession.

4 – 6 p.m., Fairmont Hotel, Second Level, International Ballroom

“LGBT Service Members and the Armed Forces One Year After the End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – A panel will examine to what degree equal employment opportunity has become a reality in the U.S. military. Speakers will discuss the repeal’s effects on the enlistment and the discharge of gay service members, review to what extent equal employment benefits are being extended, and discuss the impact of the law’s repeal on the work environment advancement opportunities for LGBT service members.

4:45 – 6:15 p.m., Hyatt West Tower, Bronze Level, Picasso

Saturday, Aug. 4

“Forum on Native American Issues II: Addressing the Oliphant in the Room” – This forum will focus on a range of tribal court issues: the SAVE Native Women Act provisions of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill; tribal court funding cases; Tribal Law and Order Act implementation issues; and updates on the Indian Law and Order Commission.

4:45 – 6:15 p.m., Hyatt West Tower, Bronze Level, Wrigley

Sunday, Aug. 5

“Cross Cultural Communication: Adversaries Working to Improve Racial Justice” –Panelists will discuss an innovative approach to combating racial disparity in the justice system, provide a roadmap for other jurisdictions to follow in instituting similar collaborations, and explore ways to promote bias-free decision-making. Issues of diversion, DUI-misdemeanor sentencing, pretrial detention and release, and probation revocation will be discussed.

8:30 – 10 a.m., Hyatt West Tower, Bronze Level, Picasso

“New Voter Registration Laws: Fighting Voter Fraud or Suppressing the Vote?” – A panel will discuss experiences involving voter fraud and registration. Experts will review the full range of new laws aimed at the registration process, voter identification and proof of citizenship, residency restriction limits on early and weekend voting, as well as proposed changes to the Electoral College.

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Hyatt West Tower, Gold Level, Regency Ballroom B

“Immigration, Race and Incarceration in the United States” – The U.S. Sentencing Commission found that Hispanics constituted more than 35 percent of all individuals sentenced to date this year, while Hispanics make up only 16 percent of the population. A panel will analyze these trends, discuss which immigration policy decisions led to this level of incarceration, and explain the cost of these incarcerations to the system.

3 – 4:30 p.m., Hyatt West Tower, Bronze Level, Comiskey

Reporters may pick up their press badges at the meeting registration area at Riverside Center of the Hyatt Regency Chicago (East Tower, Purple Level). During the Annual Meeting, a press room for accredited journalists will be open in the same area, starting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 2.  Thereafter the press room will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Aug. 7.

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are at https://abanow.org/reporter-resources/media-credentials/.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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